Monday, October 17, 2016

Science & Technology: Supercritical CO2 Could Provide Significant Efficiency Gains in Geothermal Power Production

DOE Announces $80 Million Investment to Build Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Pilot Plant Test Facility (News Release)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $80 million for a six-year project to design, build, and operate a 10 MWe supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) pilot plant test facility in San Antonio, TX. The project will be managed by a team led by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and General Electric Global Research (GE-GR).

The new facility will support the future commercialization of sCO2 Brayton cycle energy conversion systems by testing and demonstrating the potential energy efficiency and cost benefits of this technology. Today the average efficiency of the U.S. fleet of steam Rankine cycle power plants is in the lower 30 percent range. This new facility has the potential to demonstrate greater than 50 percent cycle efficiency. If successfully developed, the supercritical CO2 power cycles could provide significant efficiency gains in geothermal, coal, nuclear, and solar thermal power production.